Friday, December 19, 2014

Choosing Joy

This is the 5th night in a row that I've been wide awake in the middle of the night and I feel so very frustrated.  I wake up every night with a constant throbbing pain in my right shoulder.  I tore my rotator cuff a few months ago and after a steroid shot in that shoulder, I felt a better for a few weeks.  It's been progressively getting bad again, and last night I wrenched it which aggravated it even more.  Once I'm awake I can't get back to sleep until a few hours later which then causes me to oversleep in the morning.  Then I'm feeling behind all day.

It's frustrating because there are so many things I want to do.   Things such as.....

Sewing.  I'm almost out of tea totes which a local café carries.  My Etsy shop is depleted of them.  I have a craft fair coming up in January.  But sewing aggravates the arm.

Baking.  I've only made 4 kinds of cookies this entire season, when normally I make 10 or more. 

Giving.  Our finances are very low and need to last us for 2 more weeks so my plans of making loaves of sweet bread to give out on Christmas eve is falling by the wayside.

Singing.  I'm supposed to sing a solo for our candlelight service but am feeling very, very insecure  and unsure about that so I'm not sure I'm going to do it. 

Planning.  The children at church are supposed to sing on Sunday, but I'm thinking they are not ready.

Sending.  The Christmas cards I planned on writing and sending won't be happening because it hurts tremendously to hold my arm up on the table to write. 

Do you see how my mind goes when I'm tired and not feeling well?  Terrible!

Luke 2:8-12 (NLT) ~

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Joy to the world.  That is the news the angels brought to the shepherds.  Joy to those who feel joyless.  Joy to those who are sick.  Joy to those who are tired.  Joy to those who are fatherless.  Joy to those who have plans that are sidetracked.  Joy to those who feel lonely.  Joy to the broken-hearted. 

Joy came in the form of a simple child, wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a manger for animals.  That joy had nothing to do with cookies and decorations and busyness and Christmas movies that give you warm feelings.

I had quite the pity-party going on.  As I lay in bed, feeling sorry for myself, the thought occurred to me that I have a warm bed to lay in.  My children are all under my roof.  My freezer is full of food.  I have a family who loves me.  Do any of the activities matter?

Of course, the answer is no.  What matters is that I serve a God who loved me enough to send His son into the world to live and then die for me.  What matters is that I can wake up each day knowing that the Lord is in control of my life.

And that is where my joy is found.  Not in the doing but in the knowing.  Joy is not found in the trappings but in the fact that Christ came to earth as a human.  So today I'm going to put the doing on hold.  I'm going to enjoy this moment that I've been given.  I'm going to make things simpler this Christmas. 

Joy to the world; the Lord has come!  Today I choose joy.